Command college – foresight as a foundation to police executive development

Bob Harrison (ER Harrison and Associates, Inc., Chula Vista, California, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 18 February 2019

Issue publication date: 12 March 2019



The education of police executives has been a priority of criminal justice agencies for more than 40 years to address the need to professionalize law enforcement in America. Since the 1980s, programs for this purpose have existed, one of which is the California POST Command College. Command College is an academically oriented executive development program intended to “invest in the future” as its students – mid-career police managers – acquire the tools and skills necessary to be promoted to executive positions. This paper aims to answer the question, “Does the Command College achieve its intended goals?”


A survey instrument was used to obtain perspectives of recent graduates and of those who had graduated from the program more than four years before the survey. An assessment of the frequency of promotions to command and executive roles was completed, and an external academic assessment of the program’s curriculum was completed by a university.


Support for the program by graduates increased over time, graduates were promoted at a rate of three times higher than baseline averages for police managers and the program’s curriculum was vetted as being equivalent to graduate-level courses at the university level.

Research limitations/implications

As its value is validated through this assessment, others can learn how they might better prepare their police executives for the future. No similar law enforcement program has been similarly assessed, so others may also learn ways to ensure they are achieving their intended outcomes from this example. Given the differences in other law enforcement leadership programs in terms of student selection and specific goals, direct comparisons would be limited, both by the program differences and the research design used by others as they work to validate their success in meeting their goals.


Although law enforcement executive education has existed since 1935, and leadership training programs for the police since 1982, no research has been conducted to validate the outcomes and impact of such programs on the graduates of such programs and their agencies.



Harrison, B. (2019), "Command college – foresight as a foundation to police executive development", On the Horizon, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 24-34.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

One of the most enduring executive development programs dedicated to foresight studies neither is in academia nor is sponsored by a Fortune 500 company interested to improve its bottom line. Surprisingly, it was created in a profession rife with issues in the present and for which the study of the future might seem like a waste of time and energy with so many problems already at hand. To echo Alan Turing, sometimes the groups no one imagines anything of do the things no one imagines. In this instance, no one might imagine that a leader in professional foresight education would be from an unlikely source – law enforcement.

For more than three decades, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards (POST) has sponsored the POST Command College. Drawing from the insights of thought leaders in a variety of disciplines, the Command College strives to teach future executives in California policing the necessary executive development skills within a framework that facilitates their exploration of emerging issues of relevance to law enforcement. Since 1984, that work has resulted in significant change in the profession and a significant contribution to the practice of policing nationally as its graduates moved into executive positions throughout the state and nation.

In a time when police legitimacy is being called into question and when confidence in law enforcement wavers at all-time lows, the Command College is dedicated to use foresight, creativity and innovation to create the police agency of the future. We will explore why it was created, its outcomes and where it may go as new trends emerge on the horizon.

Background and history of law enforcement executive training

The issue of training law enforcement leaders has been a recurring theme for more than a century. The Wickersham Commission’s (1931) reports led to the creation of the first national police leadership training program. The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), created in 1967 in the aftermath of significant civil unrest, formalized federal efforts to support the professionalization of the police and supported college education for its leaders. August Vollmer, who became Berkeley, California’s first police chief in 1908, led the creation of a three-year criminology program at Cal Berkeley in 1916 that was required for all of his officers (Wilson, 1953). It was, in essence, the first leadership program for the police in America. Although Vollmer’s focus was on police practice, it was not dissimilar to leadership-development training in other disciplines, where research has shown that it is both effective and generalizable to new situations (Burke and Day, 1986) and that it can have a significant effect on a trainee’s perceptions and commitment to transformational leadership performance (Barling et al., 1996). Vollmer later authored the Wickersham report that broached issues of police corruption and brutality. From Vollmer to the present day, individuals and government leaders have voiced support for the education of law enforcement executives.

One of the most significant outcomes of the Wickersham Commission (1931) was the creation of the FBI National Academy (FBINA) in 1935, in response to the Commission’s recommendation for the “standardization and professionalization of law enforcement” (FBI, 2017). By the 1960s, the rationale to educate police chiefs was to “professionalize” policing to create more progressive and more responsive law enforcement organizations. This was expressed by the creation of the LEAA (the predecessor of the National Institute of Justice) by President Johnson in 1967 and the Law Enforcement Education Program that funded college education for more than 100,000 officers from 1975 to 1982 (OJP, 1996).

The Police Executive Research Forum received a Ford Foundation grant in 1981 to create the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) in partnership with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (Davis and Iyengar, 2013). SMIP was launched in 1982 and continues to offer three-week intensive executive programs every summer. To date, they have held more than 66 sessions of SMIP for police managers and executives drawn from across America. Although there are other regional programs, SMIP and FBINA are the only programs with the scope and breadth of national impact today. They are, however, not alone in the quest to provide advanced education for aspiring executives.

Creation of the POST Command College

The California POST Command College was created in response to LEAA’s 1976 Police Chief Executive Report’s recommendation to formalize efforts to educate police administrators. Its creation was also informed by the 1980 NIJ Symposium “Task Force on Continuing Education for Management and Executive Personnel” recommendation to create institutes of higher learning. The California Police Chief’s Association endorsed the concept in 1981, resulting in POST’s creation of a “California Law Enforcement Institute” in January 1982 (CA POST, 1982).

The goal of this institute was (and still is) to “prepare law enforcement executives to successfully lead the profession into and in the future” (CA POST, 1982). It sought to better prepare law enforcement leaders to “serve the dynamic social, political and economic environment of the future” and to be a “think tank” to expand the pool of qualified executives to solve the problems facing law enforcement. The targeted student population was police lieutenants and captains (or their equivalent) who possessed an undergraduate degree, were regarded as upwardly mobile by their agency and who would commit to remain in law enforcement at least five years beyond their entry into the program.

Command College is unique for two reasons:

  1. Its teaching faculty is drawn from thought leaders and practitioners in non-public safety disciplines.

  2. The core thread underpinning its courses is to integrate futures and foresight into the curriculum.

The original course design drew from the imagination of POST’s then Executive Director, Dr Norman Boehm, an educator appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown (past and present governor of the state) to modernize the professional education of the police. Boehm’s staff studied leadership training in the military and the impact of a futures course that began in the FBINA in 1982, taught by Dr Bill Tafoya (Lieberman, 1989). They also consulted with the RAND Corporation, academia and with trainers and futurists in the private sector. The outcome was a course comparable to a two-year university graduate program whose conceptual foundation was futures studies, designed and delivered by leaders from outside of law enforcement. The first day of the first session was taught by Hank Koehn, Vice President of Futuring for Security Pacific Bank. Mr Koehn set the bar for those who followed to teach cops about how to recognize trends and then act ahead of crisis.

Since 1984, the program has modified aspects of its content to meet emerging conditions. It was modified in 1994 to incorporate sessions on leadership and ethics, a change from the original design of technical executive skills. In 2008, the program underwent a significant modernization. In that year, lead faculty from the University of Houston’s graduate program in Strategic Foresight began teaching content that matched their graduate certificate program. By 2010, sessions were incorporated to study design, creativity and innovation. The innovation core matched well with that of futures and foresight, as it helped students not only think more diversely about what was happening around them but to imagine the possibilities of the future to “carry us to worlds that never were […]” [1].

Participants in Command College are mid-career managers in police departments, sheriff’s agencies and similar law enforcement organizations at the state and county levels. Students are chosen in a competitive process after nomination by their agency executive and commit to remain in law enforcement at least five years beyond graduation. The program is presented in a series of six weekly workshops spaced about two months apart. The capstone seventh session takes place about four months after the conclusion of the six bimonthly workshops.

Throughout the program, students are taught futures and foresight concepts that form a foundation for them to select an “emerging issue of interest to the future of law enforcement” and then conduct original research on that topic using a structure that blends foresight, change management and strategic planning. By the end of the course, graduates will have completed their research in a 14-element futures portfolio and also have submitted their findings in a professional article submitted for publication. Table I depicts the session, their futures and executive skills sessions taught and the major elements of the portfolio.

Integrating leadership, planning and foresight

It is important to note that students are seasoned practitioners, which means in almost all cases, they want to understand the utility of concepts, not just their intellectual rigor. In the early phases of the course, they are introduced to the Three Horizons (Sharpe, 2013) as a means to discuss the nature of the emerging future and how to optimize their response to the “horizons” building in their professional discipline. Giving them a framework to help place the usefulness of foresight as a part of their organizational activities has proven effective in the effort to enhance their acceptance of futures training as a tool for leadership in law enforcement. Table II displays the adapted horizon model (Harrison, 2015).

As they progress through the program, the integration of futures concepts and executive skills becomes more evident as it informs their academic work (Table III).

As with any professional development program, it is important to assess not only the perspectives of its graduates but also whether or not it is achieving its goals. In 2017, the outcomes of Command College were assessed to determine its true effect on the profession and confirm (or dispel) the belief it is truly making a difference in intended ways (Harrison, 2017).

Program assessment

Since its inception, 62 classes have graduated from the program, with about 1,600 managers in that number. At any given time, 60-70 chiefs of police are Command College graduates. Hundreds more work in command rank positions in police departments, sheriff’s agencies and state law enforcement organizations. Graduation from the Command College is listed as a “highly desirable” component of an applicant’s resume for many chief of police recruitments throughout the state.

Command College was budgeted at $455,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year (CA POST, 2017). Although that expense represents less than 1 per cent of the annual POST budget, its costs warrant periodic assessments to determine its efficacy. As an academic program, evaluating the intellectual rigor of the course content is also appropriate. In 2017, a program review was conducted, consisting of these steps:

  • Surveys of Command College graduates from 2015 to 2017 were collated and assessed to determine the level of satisfaction by program participants.

  • A survey of Command College graduates from 2011 to 2013 was completed to compare the perspectives with the 2017 survey cohort and to study the long-term impacts of the course on their respective careers.

  • An analysis of promotions to higher ranks in policing was completed and then compared with the rates of promotions for the law enforcement profession in California.

  • A program review to determine academic rigor was conducted by the University of San Diego (USD).

Each of these review elements are discussed in detail in the following sections.

Survey of Command College graduates at time of graduation, 2015-2017

In each class, an anonymous survey is administered to each class in the week of the student’s graduation. It is submitted anonymously the day before they graduate. The data in Table AI in the Appendix is drawn from five different cohorts graduating from April 2015 to July 2017 (85 per cent of graduates submitted surveys). The results reflect that, at the time of their respective graduations in 2015-2017:

  • 99 per cent agreed or strongly agreed they would recommend the course to others who may want to apply;

  • 98 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the level of cognitive challenge was appropriate; and

  • 100 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the content was effectively organized and that the program provided skills and knowledge that could be used in their current and future positions in policing.

Survey of Command College graduates, four years beyond graduation, 2011-2013

Table AII in the Appendix reflects the results of a July 2017 survey of graduates of Command College who graduated between September 2011 and September 2013 to assess the long-term impact of Command College. This survey sought to gain a greater understanding of the impact of the program and its content on participants well beyond the time they took the course (31 per cent had retired and were unable to be contacted; 66 per cent response rate from the remainder).

The questions asked differed from the ones in the instrument submitted at the time of the students’ graduation. They were, though, similar in their focus on satisfaction with the course. This survey extended the scope to surface perspectives on Command College’s impact on the graduates’ career and organization. The compiled data reveal that more than four years beyond their 2011-2013 graduation:

  • 96 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that graduating from Command College had a positive impact on their career;

  • 91 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the skills and tools learned had a positive impact on their organization;

  • 96 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the course fulfills its goal to prepare the next generation of California law enforcement leadership; and

  • 98 per cent would recommend the course to another manager seeking an experience to prepare them for a leadership position.

Interestingly, the mean score for the question of whether or not the person would recommend Command College to other managers is higher in the post-hoc group than those responding to a similar question in the last week of their program.

Comparative Assessment of Surveys

The high marks and positive sentiments over time are noteworthy for three reasons:

  1. Participants rated the experience and content very positively at the end of the course. Similar cohorts graduating more than four years ago also reported similar positive perspectives.

  2. The program employs faculty from non-law enforcement disciplines, which is different from almost all other training in policing. Evaluations across classes comment on the value of learning from persons with different perspectives. This contravenes perspectives in policing that instruction should be delivered by persons familiar with the context of law enforcement.

  3. The two data sets are from similar groups: one at the time of graduation and the other at disparate points in their distance from Command College. One could expect that persons evaluating the worth of a program at the time they are graduating might overestimate the subsequent value of what they had learned once they return to the work environment. The second group, all of whom were at least four years from their graduation, served as a comparative group to validate the value of the course in the eyes of those who have completed it.

A review of the data shows the sustained perception of value of Command College from those who have graduated from the course, not only at the time of graduation but long after the experience. The interim period is one where graduates would be able to use their learned skills (or not) and to be promoted into command and executive ranks (or not).

Culturally, the police are conservative in their evaluation of any training program. They resist receiving insight and education from those not familiar with the policing profession. Command College is dedicated to teaching foresight, innovation and futures skills, taught by a faculty almost exclusively from consultants, subject matter experts and academics outside of law enforcement. The pervasive support for the program and its benefit to the individual and organization is noteworthy in the ways it has positively impacted police managers and executives over the long term.

Promotion of Command College graduates

Beyond the self-reported survey data of the impact of the program, it is useful to assess a critical issue relevant to Command College – the goal to prepare graduates for positions of greater responsibility in command and executive roles. POST’s motto for Command College is “An Investment in the Future” so the goal to prepare those to lead in that future is only achieved as graduates move into roles of greater scope and responsibility.

On an average, a review of the proportion of supervisory, management and executive rank officers in a representative sampling of mid-size and large police agencies in California (SF BOS, 2016) shows that about one in four lieutenants get promoted to the rank of captain. Captains statistically have a one-in-three ratio to police chief positions (SF BOS, 2016). It is important to note that promotions from lieutenant to captain are almost always a result of internal promotional processes, while promotions from captain to police chief results more often from an external recruitment process of qualified candidates from across the state. Actual numbers will vary because of a number of factors, including budget constraints, the addition or deletion of management positions, the respective length of service of incumbents at each rank and the transition of management positions from sworn to civilian status.

In contrast to the averages, 69 per cent of the graduates (82/119) more than four years from graduation were promoted at least once from their rank at the time of entering the program. This includes both lieutenant to captain and captain to command or executive positions. The numbers promoted and the contrast with the averages in representative agencies listed are correlative. In a 2017 speech, former Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, Joe Farrow noted that he was a graduate of Class 22 of the program in the 1990s and that everyone in his class had become chiefs, sheriffs or commissioners in their respective agencies[2]. Beyond the role of police executives, graduates have been retained as city managers or similar municipal or county executives; a former director of the US Department of Justice’s Community-Oriented Policing Office is a graduate, as is the current executive director of the Police Foundation.

A causal link cannot be established owing to the factors noted and also because Command College students are chosen through a competitive selection process that must be endorsed by their agency. The number of promotions, however, represents a 170 per cent increase from the baseline average. This strongly indicates the program is a direct influence on the subsequent promotion of graduates to positions of greater responsibility and that in terms of the impact of the program on policing in California, it is an expense that is well worth the sustained outcomes experienced by its graduates.

Academic assessment

In 2015, California POST entered into a cooperative evaluation with USD to assess the academic rigor of Command College as a prelude to soliciting graduate credit for the program. USD’s College of Arts and Sciences, which had recently launched a graduate degree program in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership, agreed to examine the faculty, content and academic work completed in the course. The most significant result of this work was that USD created a 12-unit graduate certificate for which graduates could apply. In addition to having graduate units that could transfer to any accredited graduate program, Command College alumni could apply the units to the Master of Science (MS) in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership to complete their graduate education if they qualified academically for University admission (USD, 2018).

The graduate certificate was launched in January 2018; more than 60 graduates have received their graduate certificates, with about 60 per cent entering the MS program. USD’s faculty and administrators, who are responsible to vet student coursework, have remarked about the quality of the work and how it is consistent with the high academic standards set for graduate work throughout the University.

Challenges ahead

Even with the success of Command College, the social and political milieu within which policing exists is in a state of turmoil not seen since the civil unrest in the state in the 1960s and 1970s. The Pew Research Center’s 1958-2017 “Public Trust in Government” reflects that only 20 per cent of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” or “most of the time” (Pew Research Center, 2017a). This is down from almost 80 per cent in the early 1960s and from 55 per cent in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

A June 2017 Gallup poll notes that 57 per cent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the law enforcement (Gallup, 2017). This has increased from a low of 52 per cent only two years earlier, but it is still down from its historic high of 64 per cent in 2004. The overall rise in confidence, however, masks a drop in confidence among Hispanics, younger adults and those identifying themselves as having a liberal ideology. Nationally, one in five police officers say their job “nearly always or often makes them feel angry and frustrated” and 53 per cent report their work frequently evokes those feelings (Pew Research Center, 2017b). No doubt, police shootings, especially those involving circumstances where the police have killed an African – American male, have affected the ways in which the police are perceived and the levels of frustration felt by those serving as peace officers. Clearly, the status quo is not sustainable.

In this context, the work of Command College and the impact of that work to enhance the success of its graduates must be assessed. In that light, the following considerations for the future should be addressed:

  • Although work has begun to use the resources and research done by Command College students, there is ample room to strengthen the means of receiving benefit from the program that should be expanded. One way being explored today is for the California Police Chiefs and State Sheriff’s Associations to submit topics they want researched that Command College students can select for their futures issue.

  • The focus of student research should be oriented to a frame of action research, one that strives to study and provide informed expertise to a broader swath of social and political issues. Recent classes have transitioned to select topics that address social change (and needed change in law enforcement structures and strategies), although discontinuous technological change (autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, robotics, holography, etc.) continues to dominate issues researched by students. The partnership with police executive organizations should help facilitate this change.

  • The original intent of those that created the course was to have a formal research component and an affiliation with a university to develop the Command College as a locus of control for concepts related to the future of crime and justice. The recent partnership with USD is a step in that direction. Although, if POST desires to formalize research, it will need to fund academic fellows or use a similar means to integrate ongoing research to extend the impact of the program.

  • If a research and development function is not established with an academic partner, a similar unit should be considered within POST. This unit could create e-fellow positions from Command College graduates to work on select projects and issues of importance to law enforcement.

  • The management of the course was moved to an electronic Course Management System in 2010, saving thousands of dollars each year in material and copying costs. Course content, however, is delivered only in-person at workshops. Online teaching approaches have matured to a point where thesis work and some content delivered to add depth to the student’s understanding of various topics could be delivered in a small private online course modality using a platform similar to Stanford Online, edX or Coursera. This would allow POST to save money, while also adding content seamlessly to the future of the program.

  • To establish causal links between graduation from Command College and the professional performance (and professional advancement), longitudinal study of cohorts should be completed. A pre-course assessment of their performance administered to the participant and their direct supervisor would create a baseline; post-course at established intervals would develop a means to assess enhancements in leadership skills, assess subsequent academic achievement and track promotions to command and executive positions.


The populace depends on effective policing every day to create a sense of safety in the community. Leaders in government and academia have been advocating training for police executives for more than a century. Local, regional and national programs have sought to achieve that goal. To reduce that effort would be tantamount to acknowledging defeat, an outcome that is unacceptable for the people served, and for the police themselves.

Command College actively seeks to help police managers to innovate beyond the status quo. The outcomes of the program have already been used to enhance the effectiveness of the police. In the emerging landscape, the Command College and similar programs that strive to educate police executives are the best hope to overcome the obstacles in the path of law enforcement to create the police organization of the future. As this article strongly indicates, the California POST Command College is a viable pathway to achieve that goal, one that echoes Albert Einstein’s quote about the quest for knowledge: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution” (Einstein, 1929). As the Command College encourages its future leaders to imagine, the world that is created as a result is one that we can all celebrate[3][4][5].

Futures topics, executive skills, portfolio elements

Session Futures topics Executive skills Futures portfolio element
1 Introduction to foresight
Introduction to police futures
Introduction to STEEP scanning
Introduction to systems thinking
Introduction to social change theory
Introduction to the futures portfolio (FP)
Topic selection
Research proposal
2 World futures
Design and innovation
Police and the media
Chinese culture and transnational crime
Data collection processes
Annotated bibliography in STEEP format[6]
Research plan
3 Scenario creation Ethics
Adaptive leadership
Environmental issues
Data collection plan
Scenario development for FP topic
4 Making the case for change Economics – theory and practice
Geopolitics of North America
Data collection report
Cross impact analysis
Case for change panel report
5 Planning change
Bringing the future to the present
Technology futures
Creating and implementing strategy in organizations Strategic planning report
6 Demographics of the future
Domestic and international political issues
Trust in teams, organizations and the community
Writing for publication
Executive summary
Summary of findings and implications
Professional article
7 Executive panel – the future of cities Individual and team presentations of findings Graduation with completed FP

The three horizons

Time from the present Activity Envisioned outcomes Processes and tools
The present Leadership and management of people, resources and activities Adapting to the emerged reality; use of resources appropriately Policies and plans deployed, trained response, workforce engagement
0-2 years from today Management of projected resource needs; creating direction and resilience Strategic planning completed, goals published with objective metrics Establish plans, strategies and objectives for the normative future; continue STEEP
2-5 years from today Foresight - identify emerging issues and impacts; forecast options and opportunities Contingency planning emerging issue analysis; scenario development; impact analysis STEEP analysis; determine scope, velocity, impact and timing of emerging issues, data refinement
More than 5 years from today Futuring - using processes and tools to scan and study weak signals Long-range scanning; possibility analysis, issues ID, red teaming STEEP; impact analysis, literature scans, data collection, consider possible futures

Figure used with permission from the FBI National Academy Associates

Source: Adapted for Command College (Harrison, 2015)

The three horizons

Time from the present Activity Envisioned outcomes Processes and tools
The present Leadership and management of people, resources and activities Adapting to the emerged reality; use of resources appropriately Policies and plans deployed, trained response, workforce engagement
0-2 years from today Management of projected resource needs; creating direction and resilience Strategic planning completed, goals published with objective metrics Establish plans, strategies and objectives for the normative future; continue STEEP
2-5 years from today Foresight - identify emerging issues and impacts; forecast options and opportunities Contingency planning emerging issue analysis; scenario development; impact analysis STEEP analysis; determine scope, velocity, impact and timing of emerging issues, data refinement
More than 5 years from today Futuring - using processes and tools to scan and study weak signals Long-range scanning; possibility analysis, issues ID, red teaming STEEP; impact analysis, literature scans, data collection, consider possible futures

Figure used with permission from the FBI National Academy Associates

Source: Adapted for Command College (Harrison, 2015)

Graduate survey at time of graduation

Question – Compiled Classes, 2015-2017 (n = 99) (Classes 56, 58, 59, 60, 61) 1 2 3 4 5 Mean SD
The content was organized in a manner to effectively present futures studies and executive development 0 0 0 33 66 4.67 0.47
The level of cognitive challenge was appropriate for a management cohort 0 0 2 29 68 4.66 0.51
I would recommend Command College to others who may want to apply 0 1 0 18 80 4.78 0.50
The program provided skills and knowledge that can be used in my current and future positions 0 0 0 22 77 4.77 0.42

Key: 1: Strongly Disagree; 2: Disagree; 3: Neither agree nor disagree; 4: Agree; and 5: Strongly Agree

Graduate survey, four or more years since graduation

Question (n = 58) (Classes 49, 50, 51, 52, 53) 1 2 3 4 5 Mean SD
Graduating from Command College has had a positive impact on my career 0 0 2 6 50 4.83 0.46
The skills and tools I learned have had a positive impact on the work of my organization 0 0 5 11 42 4.64 0.64
Command College fulfills its goal to prepare the next generation of California law enforcementleadership for the challenges ahead 0 0 2 10 46 4.76 0.50
I would recommend Command College to another manager seeking a developmental experience toprepare him/her for a leadership position 0 0 1 5 52 4.88 0.37

Key: 1: Strongly Disagree; 2: Disagree; 3: Neither agree nor disagree; 4: Agree; and 5: Strongly Agree



Carl Sagan’s full quote is “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it, we go nowhere.”


Data obtained from the annual budgets of the respective agencies (July 2017) by the author.


Statement made at the graduation ceremony by Commissioner Farrow during his keynote speech in February 2018.


Mid-size cities generally have 100,000-300,000 population in urban areas with more than one million population; Santa Monica included as a reference to agencies just below the “mid-size” category for comparison purposes.


Data drawn from the respective city annual budgets, 2015-2017.


In Table I – STEEP is an acronym for the method of separating events into their general concept areas (e.g. Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Political) in common use in futures work.


Table AI

Table AII


Barling, J., Weber, T. and Kelloway, E. (1996), “Effects of transformational leadership training on attitudinal and financial outcomes: a field experiment”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 81 No. 6, pp. 827-832.

Burke, M. and Day, R. (1986), “A cumulative study of the effectiveness of managerial training”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 71 No. 2, pp. 232-245.

California League of Cities (CA LOC) (2017), “Population rankings”, available at: (accessed 23 June 2017).

CA POST (1982), “California law enforcement command college report”, CA Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), Commission meeting, Agenda Item H, 28 January.

CA POST (2017), “Report on request to renew the contract for the law enforcement command college”, CA Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission Agenda Report, 22 February.

Davis, R. and Iyengar, R. (2013), “Evaluation of the caruth police institute at dallas”, RAND Corporation, Safety and Justice Program, available at: (accessed 18 June 2017).

Einstein, A. (1929), “As quoted in ‘What life means to Einstein: an interview by George Sylvester viereck”, The Saturday Evening Post, 26 October.

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) (2017), “National academy website”, available at: (accessed 2 July 2017).

Gallup (2017), “Confidence in police back at historical average”, 10 June, available at: (accessed 22 June 2017).

Harrison, B. (2015), “Why should cops study the future?”, FBI National Academy Associates Magazine, January-February, pp. 22-24.

Harrison, B. (2017), “An assessment of the command college”, Unpublished research report for CA Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST), Sacramento, CA, July.

Lieberman, P. (1989), “Command college: pointing cops toward the 21st century”, Los Angeles Times, 25 September, available at:

Office of Justice Programs (OJP) (1996), “US department of justice, LEAA/OJP retrospective (1996)”, available at: (accessed 30 June 2017).

Pew Research Center (2017a), “Public trust in government: 1958-2017”, 14 December, available at: (accessed 12 June 2017).

Pew Research Center (2017b), “Roughly one-in-five police frequently feel angry and frustrated on the job”, 9 March, available at: (accessed 22 June 2017).

San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s (SF BOS) (2016), “Report of police department staffing”, January, available at: (accessed 23 June 2017).

Sharpe, B. (2013), Three Horizons: The Patterning of Hope, Triarchy Press, Bridport.

University of San Diego (USD) (2018), “Law enforcement command certificate”, available at: (accessed 1 July 2018).

Wickersham Commission (1931), “Report on lawlessness in law enforcement, Part 1”, Wickersham Commission Report, available at: (accessed 27 June 2018).

Wilson, O.W. (1953), “August vollmer”, Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology & Police Science, Vol. 44, pp. 91-103, available at: (accessed 28 June 2017).

Corresponding author

Bob Harrison can be contacted at:

About the author

Bob Harrison is based at ER Harrison and Associates, Inc., Chula Vista, California, USA.